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Meet the Interpreters: Discover Power of Parks 2015

Monadnock and Greenfield State Parks Interpreter: Rachel Szczytko

Rachel Szczytko - Hello all future park visitors! I hail from the Great Lakes state and grew up a short drive from Lake Michigan. After completing a degree in Terrestrial Ecology from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), I chased my thirst for exploring new places across the U S of A. I am now happily nestled in New Hampshire and working at Greenfield and Monadnock State Parks. My passion are plants, and, as such, you will probably see me around the parks observing some obscure species. All in all, I just love experiencing nature with people: whether its taking a hike, meditating in the woods, creating a nature craft, or munching on some wild edibles. I hope to get to do some of these things with you all this year. Please stop by and share a nature story or ask about a plant ID; can’t wait to see you at the parks!

Franconia Notch State Park Interpreters: Nicole Cram & Vicky Benko

Nicole Cram - While I enjoy making pies, busting out some sweet dance moves, and crocheting hats, I am especially fascinated and inspired by the outdoors. My obsession began while trying to see the colors of the wind in my childhood and it has substantially grown since I have worked and traveled throughout the United States. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Florida State University, I’ve worked at Arches National Park, taught marine science in Washington, and educated elementary school students about environmental science in Wyoming. I am extremely excited and fortunate to explore the northeast and call Franconia Notch my home. For future visitors, I look forward to meeting all of you - exchanging nature facts and exploring the great outdoors. Please always be prepared with your sense of adventure and wonder.

Vicky Benko - Greetings fellow nature explorers! I am extremely excited to be spending the summer and fall months at Franconia Notch State Park! I am from Lakewood, Ohio.  Living on shores of Lake Erie and having a deep love of everything in nature (especially birds) from a young age, guided me to Ohio Wesleyan University where I received my degree in Zoology. While in college, I went to the Galapagos Islands – here I realized that I could get a job that lets me go out in nature and teach people about it. A job that’s happy and stress-free – how lucky is that?! Shortly after graduating, I started working at Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center where I fell deeply in love with teaching about nature in nature.  Then, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Student Conservation Association New Hampshire AmeriCorps program. I have been a part of this exciting group since January. I am overwhelmingly excited to be at Franconia Notch and to meet all of the wonderful visitors!

White Lake and Monadnock State Park Interpreter: Ryan Kintz

My name is Ryan Kintz, yours is most likely not, but that's acceptable. I love the outdoors, and because you are visiting this page means that you do too - that's great! I graduated from a small liberal arts school called The Evergreen State College, hail from Washington state, and have reaped the benefits of maturing in such a lusciously forested landscape. This upbringing has left me predisposed to engage in activities of the outdoor variety. This passion has lead me to a position where I can bring my enjoyment of nature to all park attendees. I am the the interpretive ranger at White Lake and Monadanock State Parks and can't wait to see what I, patrons, and the parks have to offer each other.

Bear Brook State Park Interpreter: Christie Conway

Hello woodland friends!  My name is Christie Conway and I love mountains, wind through the trees, moose, and any kind of outdoor adventure.  Born and raised in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina (minus 4 yrs in Colorado as a youngin’), I have found my way up to the Granite State!  Although my heart belongs to those mountains, I have been discovering new beauty and wonder at Bear Brook State Park that I’ve never experienced before.  After majoring in Oboe Performance and minoring in Appropriate Technology at Appalachian State University, I was overcome with the need to run into the wild and share my passion and enthusiasm for Mother Nature with friends, children, and everybody else.  BBSP has already given me hundreds of new experiences and incredible memories, so I am beyond excited to continue to live in this beautiful 10,000-acre wonderland as the Interpretive Ranger. 

Pawtuckaway State Park Interpreter: Renee Harding

Renee Harding -Greetings, nature enthusiasts!  I am thrilled to introduce myself as Pawtuckaway State Park’s Interpretive Ranger.  My passion for the outdoors was planted during my upbringing in Ohio.  I was fortunate enough to have parents who encouraged me to explore nature, travel, and visit local parks.  The power that nature has to calm, excite, and heal has fascinated me for years.  I expanded my environmental knowledge through my degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology.

There is so much to explore and learn in Pawtuckaway’s landscape, and I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you all! Feel free to stop by my campsite to chat; if you can’t find me there, I’ll likely be wandering the trails in search of wild edibles, mountain biking, or hanging out in the beautiful boulder field.  Please join me to investigate the wonders of the natural world… It won’t be the same without you!

Umbagog Lake State Park Interpreter: Ben Spurrier

Ben Spurrier - Howdy Campers! This summer, I am the interpretive ranger at Umbagog Lake State Park. I am from Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland in 2013. After Graduation, I spent some time traveling and working seasonal positions before joining the Student Conservation Association New Hampshire AmeriCorps. With a strong appreciation for the outdoors, I look forward to spending the next few months in such a special part of New England. Join me this summer for some programs exploring the beauty of the GNW!